April 17, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - San Diego Gulls
The San Diego Gulls (43-20-3-2; 91 points, .669 win %) will face the Ontario Reign (36-21-10-1; 83 points, .610 win %) in the First Round of the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. This marks San Diego's second-consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs after appearing in the postseason in 2015-16 during the club's inaugural season. The Gulls will enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, and match up against the Reign in a best-of-five series that features the Pacific Division's top teams since its creation last season. Over the past two seasons, San Diego and Ontario have the top two records in the Western Conference, with the Gulls earning 82 wins, the most in the Pacific Division.
The Gulls enter the 2017 playoffs with an all-time postseason record of 4-5 (1-1 in series play). San Diego is 2-2 at Valley View Casino Center and 2-3 away from home in the playoffs.
San Diego has faced Ontario on one previous occasion in the playoffs. The clubs met in 2016 in the Division Finals, with Ontario prevailing in five games. In a hard-fought series that featured two overtime games and three one-goal games, the Reign took Game 1 by a 5-3 score line, followed by a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2. San Diego won Game 3 in a 3-0 shutout courtesy of Matt Hackett, but dropped Game 4 in overtime (4-3) and then the deciding Game 5 by a heart-breaking 2-1 score.
Former Gull Chris Mueller (2-46) led all skaters in scoring during the 2015 Second Round matchup, while Kalle Kossila (1-12), Corey Tropp (0-22) and Antoine Laganiere (0-22) lead current Gulls in playoff scoring vs. Ontario. Current Anaheim Ducks Nick Ritchie (2-24) and Brandon Montour (0-33) ranked second and third respectively in Gulls scoring during last year's series. The Reign were led offensively by Nic Dowd (2-24) and Mike Amadio (1-34), while Adrian Kempe and Michael Mersch each earned two-goal games for Ontario.
There are 11 Gulls (Stu Bickel, Brian Cooper, Kossila, Laganiere, Kyle MacKinnon, Jaycob Megna, Scott Sabourin, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Jeff Schultz, Tropp, Andy Welinski) and 11 Reign (Amadio, Justin Auger, Sean Backman, Paul Bissonette, Jonny Brodzinsksi, Andrew Crescenzi, Sam Herr, Kempe, Mersch, Joel Lowry, Vincent LoVerde,) remaining from the 2016 Second Round series. Current Gulls Sabourin, Schultz and Samuels-Thomas each appeared in the 2016 series with Ontario.
In the regular season the teams faced off 12 times with San Diego posting a 6-4-1-1 record against Ontario and a 2-3-1-0 mark at Valley View Casino Center. On the road in 2016-17, the Gulls earned points in five of six road games in the season series, going 4-1-0-1 at Citizens Business Bank Arena, All-time, the Gulls are 14-8-1-1 vs. Ontario in the regular season (6-5-1-0 at home, 8-3-0-1 on road), and 1-4 vs. the Reign in the playoffs (0-2 at home, 1-2 on the road).